Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

Things that have fixed my TMJ temporarily and things that didn't

I've gone through many posts on this forum and have noticed the majority are:

1: people who are new to seeking treatment (The community is very responsive and seem to share empathy for those in similar painful situations, sadly there is no real information to be gained, although support is definitely valuable)
2: posts that get hijacked by LVIDentist offering to PM you with Neuromuscular Dentistry solutions
(Interestingly, I just got back from an LVIDentist here in TX today, and would advise against this option, you will pay a minimum $2,250 for an orthotic which differs in no way from the $200 one's offered by most DDS with the exception that you are hooked up to a TENS machine (which can be rented for around $50 a month or purchased for $200-$800) which relaxes your jaw so as to provide the orthotic manufacturer with an impression produced in a relaxed muscular state. In other words you pay alot of money to buy a mouthguard which keeps your teeth apart. The big red flag here being that MOST Neuromuscular dentists are cosmetic dentists not orthodontists. Granted they do a great job on full teeth restorations if you have $40,000.)

That being said, it would be nice to see what is actually working rather than people simply coming in and saying they have pain then leaving without capturing what did and did not work for them. Online communities can typically benefit from community data, i.e. what has worked and what has not worked by providing user's with an ability to insert personal accounts into a database which can then be sorted by treatment type and success rate. With all the TMJ sufferer's in the world and the size of TMJ communities, it blows my mind that a system like this does not exist. Imagine if we could get on a forum where the topics were divided by the specific treatments, then LVIDentist could have his own space to occupy and not hijack every thread that pops up. You could find targeted information in an organized manner. If anyone is interested in an idea or would like to contribute, PM me (I promise I won't sell you anything)

Now for my contribution,

In 8 years of suffering TMJ I have noticed the following:

My TMJ symptoms stared about 1 year after having my braces removed. I did not wear the retainer as often of prescribed. My orthodontist suggested a surgery that involved breaking my jaw and wiring me shut for 6 months although I decided not to go with this as I was 17 and did not want to be wired shut at prom. Twice, I noticed that hallucinogenic mushrooms completely took away my jaw pain. These accounts occurred about 4 years from each other. Each time the feeling was like an ecstatic release, where I could sense my pain leaving, then my jaw would crack and witnesses say my face contorted (we were tripping, so take with a grain of salt) then I was immediately without pain which lasted for about 2 weeks. I had a short stint with anabolic steroids in college, Dianabol followed by Clomid. Both of these drugs took my TMJ away almost completely. I was only on these for 1 week each and the pain went away while on them and for about a week afterward. This is definitely due to the fact that anabolic steroids completely knock out inflammation in users. Marijuana does not help, nor does it seem to make it worse. Cigarettes, tobacco, and alcohol don't seem to help but rather make it worse. Caffeine is weird in that I found it sometimes alleviates and sometimes makes the pain alot worse. I had a splint about 4 years ago which helped mildly. I would always wake up to find it not in my mouth though and wonder if anyone else had this problem. I was prescribed Celebrex which totally neutralized my inflammation at the cost of making me feel extremely high anxiety (this is an actual side effect). The anxiety was a terrible feeling and I warn anyone getting on this medication to try it in small amounts first.

I am currently considering synvisc injections or cortisone. Preferably synvisc. Any info on these? Again, imagine if a there were already a topic for this on a board somewhere, I woulnd't even have to ask!

I currently have symptoms of facial, neck, back, and shoulder pain. With mild vertigo now and again. I'm really tired of living like this and would like to find a place where real patients can describe what really worked for them. Even if someone wished to contradict my opinion on Neuromuscular Dentistry. All ideas are welcome.

I realize I'm being brutally honest in this forum, and would like to say that I don't experiment with illegal substances currently and am also tobacco-free so please keep any uneducated comments regarding my honesty in those regards to yourself. All I need is some one who has achieved significantly less success in their life, criticizing my past behavior in light of the truths it contains.
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First Helper Clarita
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replied July 7th, 2010
Thanks for your posting. I cannot inform you on the use of synvisc injections, cortisone, but the following may help.....
Have experienced TMJ for about 4-5 months only. My doctor put me on Ibuprofen 800mg 3 times per day. Tried that for 3 weeks with little improvement. My dentist recommended a mouth guard and the hygentist suggested ginger to help with the inflammation, so I order the mouthguard two weeks ago. The dental hygentist said the ibuprofen would damage the liver and ginger was harmless and could help. So I tried ginger with little success. I was on a cruise recently and tried acupuncture, since TMJ was listed on the sheet as things acupuncture will help. The acupuncture was very successful in reducing the pain. It has been several days now since the treatment and the pain is still greatly reduced. I also picked up the custom mouthguard, ordered through my dentist about 2 weeks ago, so the jury is out on the success of that or even if it is necessary since the acupuncture was a success initially. So that is my story. I will see if the pain returns and if so, try the mouth guard, and acupuncture if necessary. Total cost so far has been $20 for the doctor visit, $20 for the ibuprofen prescription, $300 for the mouthguard, and $150 for the acupuncture. Total about $500.
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replied July 7th, 2010
Great info, let us know how that all works out for you. Of course, I wish we could migrate this whole forum somewhere where success could be more easily tracked. Aside from that, it is interesting to hear that acupuncture worked so well. I am the same way with Ibuprofen and aspirin. It helps a little but you are right, it causes severe gastrointestinal problems and shouldn't be taken for prolonged periods. So between you and I we can cross out NSAID paid relievers, support for acupuncture, and unsure about splints. Definitely don't forget to reply if you have any future success.
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replied July 8th, 2010
I think part of the reason there are so few success stories is that once people find relief, they're off living their lives and don't think about the pain, and don't think to report their success on the forums. Also how many forums have you subscribed to? As there are plenty out there with this exact same type of thread.

I've had TMJ for 10 years. I've tried quite a few treatments over that time, including

jaw exercises
massage including intra oral
accupuncture
physiotherapy
anti-depressants
TENS
heat/ice therapy
anti-inflammatories
bilateral arthrocentesis
soft food diet
custom made mouth guard
craneo sacral therapy
tying a scarf around my head to help support my jaw (from under my chin tying at the top of my head)
No heavy lifting

That's all I can think of at the moment. What's worked best for me as the far as the joints are concerned was the bilateral arthrocentesis (this treamtment however fails for many people, I was lucky). As far as my muscles are concerned, the soft food diet and being very careful what I lift have had the best effect.

I hope this helps, I'm sure others will be along soon.

Melanie.
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replied July 9th, 2010
Re: Things that have fixed my TMJ temporarily and things that di
I've had TMJ problems for 20 years. After all these years what I found that works for me is:

Eat a soft diet and avoid hard food such as raw carrots, or eating an apple, instead i cut it into pieces which puts less stress on my jaw.

I use the splint made by my dentist every night!!!

Sleep on my back. I love to sleep on my stomack but this posture is not good for the jaw as it does not provide good support.

Whenever I have pain I use an electric heating pad alternating warm and hot temperature which I find relaxes the area quite a bit. Be careful dont fall asleep with the heating pad on - I've done this a few times and that is not good!!!

Take a hot shower and specially to get the hot water around the neck, back & around the jaw area.

Anything that helps relax the muscles around the jaw will decrease TMJ problems.

I think that acupuncture must be excellent if you find the right person.

For all means avoid stress as much as you can and avoid clenching your teeth.

I now added Glucosamine, Chondroiting and MSM in liquid form, I think this is good for the jaw joint.

Beware of people trying to sell you “TMJ miracle cures”, I paid $50 and ended up wasting my money!!
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replied July 12th, 2010
I am trying Cortisone injection this week after having pain for 10 months. I have tried physio, osteo - temporary relief, chiro - temporary relief (used a massage machine on my face), panadeine forte, accupuncture, heat pack. I have a splint for the night made by a regular dentist and I am using it every night as I know I clench and grind my teeth. Less stress? Well I try, but the irony is that having this has been stressful. I also had Breast Cancer last year and I think that's what may have bought all this on due to the stress of all that and it's treatment. Will keep you posted and wish me luck, I am so over it and even if I have temporary relief and then have to have another injection after time well that will be better than it is now. K
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replied July 14th, 2010
I'd go see this guy if you can. I know for a fact moving the Hyoid Bone can cause you relief of TMJ issues. Don't do it yourself. Find someone that knows about how to do it. Don't trust a friend find a Chiropractor to help you with it. As if you try it yourself youll either get it jammed. Pinch more nerves and or just not get the results. If I lived closer to this clinic I'd go in a heartbeat. The person that manipulated mine has since retired and no longer does this procedure which has made things a lot worse with the pain I have now. Hope this helps.
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replied July 26th, 2010
Re: NeuroMuscular Dentistry
Re:the NeuroMuscular dentistry, I must disagree with
the thread-starter's assessment!! I'm seeing a NMD right now and she is amazing: the testing, eval, work gone into me thus far has been far, far more extensive than any treatment I've ever gotten from any other dentist or Dr.
The testing to find the. Jaw's ideal relaxed state is extremely detailed and extensive: thru the electrodes we were able to see which muscle groups were more hyperactive than others, pops clicks that were actually going on but i couldn't hear them (u can actually see a visual of it on the computer that shows you your pattern of opening, closing, chewing, grinding-- all info she gathers to create an custom orthosis. Plus, the NASA engineered technology used in the the other battery of tests. Tongue patterns, microvolts output in temporal/digastric/masseter/pteroglide muscles. I could actually see my headache onscreen and which muscles were responsible for it!! All that goes into the treatment she devises. It IS very different from nightguard-- a ng only keeps your. Teeth from wearing down; this orthosis actually support your jaw and slowly bringsvit back into an ideal position-- makes you less symptomatic in the meantime.
In my experience thus far (and btw she has spent over 2 hrs with me at each appt!) the Tens unit is only one of many, many tests to create the ideal jaw-placement and orthosis.
My experience with a NeuroMuscular dentist has been amazing: my concern is that by poo pooing NM someone might read this thread and not try simething that might ultimately work for them.
Also, my NMD is not a cosmetic dentist: TMJ is the focus of her practice. She went into it b/c of her own excrutiating TMJ - when she went to even UCLA specialists they dismissed her and told her to go see a shrink! I think her empathy and personal experience makes her unique and trustworthy. She does not do or recommend any sugery or tooth extractions or anything like that ever. She has been pro additional therapies like PT to release and/or strengthen muscles and get them out of these patterns they've been stuck in due to the TMJ, and also recommends finding an accupuncturist while you are adjusting to the orthosis to open up those pathways. She is pretty holistic, abd wants to see me get off the drugs other drs prescribed for me.
Anyway, I can't say enough great things about my NMD experience!! It is much, much more than just a tens unit!!!! The key is to find a TRUE tmj specialis. And one who truly understands your pain -- not someone who just does a potpourri of things.
Good luck, everyone! Keep pursuing answers and solutions and be your own advocate!!
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replied July 30th, 2010
Ive had TMJ for 5 years. In the beginning it was terrible. But after going to an LVI Dentist (BAD mistake) and him trying to rip me off, Ive figured out ways to alleviate syptoms on my own.
Dont eat hard chewy foods.
Buy a mouth guard from drugstore made for TMJ (works excellent!)
Take an antihistimine when ear pressure builds up.
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replied July 30th, 2010
2nettea,
to answer your question, he told me I needed to have ALL my teeth veneered to fix my bite, I payed $900.00 for a splint that made me feel 1000 times worse (no refund). And I would need a new splint every 6 months. None of these things are guaranteed. I found the only thing that works is the $50.00 drugstore splint, conscious effort to not grind, zyrtec and watching what I eat.
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replied August 1st, 2010
2netta, I found him through searching for an LVI dentist on the internet. He was definately LVI trained. Anyway, I really didnt feel comfortable with him and his staff. Just that gut feeling that never went away. You really have to feel comfortable with a doctor. I am very happy we have you here helping us with TMJ. You sound warm and compassionate. Thank you for taking your time with us.
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replied August 2nd, 2010
Having had many splints over many years and have been completely pain free, I would like to question the LVI process. The fact finding mission is impressive; the K7 seemingly cool technology illustrating every tension, imperfection in your bite. The problem I have is the taking of the impression which is probably the most important part of the mission. Pink goop impression material is placed in your mouth and in less than a minute with probes placed on your face, you have to have to locate a dot on a computer screen with your jaw. It's a bit of a comedy routine. In my experience 5 impressions were taken, with sometimes my jaw extended so far it was uncomfortable. Not once did the dentist look at my mouth. The entire time was spent studying the computer. The end result was a splint that was built high on one side and for me, a waste of money.

The difference with my dentist that I had for many years was that he was an artist and a craftsman. He studied the motion of the jaw with and without the TENS machine. He meticulously fitted the splint. This dentist was pre-LVI and though some of his discoveries were used in the creation of the LVI philosophy, something was lost in the translation. With all the controversy about LVI, I feel that the one thing that is missing is the hands on application of dentist to patient. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet." Computers are nice, but we cannot dismiss the role of the trained professional.
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replied August 3rd, 2010
You're funny! I would like to believe in LVI as there are not a lot of other options out there. My circumstances were unusual, so that is perhaps why it didn't work for me. (A waste of money for me, because I couldn't wear the splint.)

I had lost a rear molar, and as I said I had a TMJ problem to begin with. When I lost the tooth I couldn't wear my current splint and subsequent splints made my teeth crash on the side where the tooth was missing (when I took the splint out of my mouth). I went back to the LVI dentist for frequent adjustments but the fundamental problem existed and did not change. I did not wear it all because of what it did to my jaw.

I now have a new implant which is great but which of course is occluded lower than the other teeth. Based on the philosophy of "raise the vertical measurement" perhaps I am in trouble. And I still need a splint!

For those who are suffering with TMJ, take it from a veteran, the right splint can save your life. I would love to be a lab rat in Las Vegas - really I just want to get out of pain.
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replied August 3rd, 2010
I wore a splint for 18 years without crashing teeth, but I did have a full set of teeth to play with. What was most disconcerting in this instance, was that they crashed on one side.

I am off to another LVI dentist who will make a splint using only the myomonitor and the "golden rule" of measurement. I did have a splint constructed that way once, but again it was by the master splint maker. I am experimenting with a NUCCA doctor and hoping for a full body reconstruction! Some NUCCA doctors claim their adjustments can fix the TMJ problem itself; I suppose it depends on the origin of your problem.
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replied September 10th, 2010
My 18 year old daughter has had TMJ for the past 4 1/2 years. All of her symptoms started shortly after having her orthodontic braces removed. Symptoms: cracking jaw, fully locked jaw for months at a time, severe headaches; facial, neck and back muscle aches. She was in so much pain that it was hard for her to function at school and the pain became so excruciating that by her senior year in HS, with the school's permission she only attended half days. She has seen four different doctors, had three different mouthguards and due to the fact that the discs in her jaw were displaced she had Arthrocentesis (lavage) in December 2009. After the surgery she continued to have the same if not more pain and her jaw began to lock up again after a few weeks. We then had an MRI taken of her jaw and the good news was the discs were back in place, where they were supposed to be, but the pain had not changed. We then saw a wonderful LVI dentist and he was very sympathetic and was able to see where her pain was coming from. But even the mouthguard he made her, although it slightly eased the pain, was not effective. He was very disappointed as we were too, as this was his first patient that he was not able to treat successfully. Then by chance I asked a M.D. friend who is a pain management doctor for advice. Although he doesn't treat TMJ pain himself, he suggested we see an acupuncturist. Not a believer in homeopathic treatments, I was not eager nor a believer of acupuncture but we were so desperate that we figured let's give it a try. Amazingly, the acupuncture has greatly relieved her pain. After just one session she was nearly pain free for two days. Additional sessions have continued to help. She also continues to wear her mouth guard at night as she does tend to clench her jaw.
I just wanted to add this hopeful message because I think everyone's TMJ pain is different in what can be used successfully to treat it. I think the arthrocentesis, LVI dentistry, or acupuncture are all effective ways of treating TMJ but you just have to find the one that works best for you.
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